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Royal Decree 183/2015, amending the Environmental Liability framework in Spain.

Important amendments have been introduced by the new Royal Decree 183/2015 in the Environmental Liability framework in Spain (regulated by Law 26/2007 and Royal Decree 2090/2008):

  • Operators of activities with little potential to cause environmental damage and low accident rate are exempt from the obligation to subscribe an insurance policy covering its potential environmental liabilities and, therefore, are also exempt to conduct an environmental risk assessment. Thus, this insurance policy will only be mandatory for operators of higher risk activities (IPPC activities, SEVESO activities and certain mining wastes);
  • A new methodology for the calculation of the environmental risk, based on the calculation of an Index of Environmental Damage, and the quantification and monetization of the worst scenario identified. For this purpose it has been published the new Annex III (“Methodology for estimating an Index of Environmental Damage associated with each accidental scenario”);
  • The verification of the environmental risk assessment is not longer mandatory and it has been replaced by a “responsible statement” or affidavit from the operator of the activity. For this purpose it has been published the new Annex IV (“Minimum content of the responsible statement under Article 33”) where the operator of the activity must declare that the before mentioned assessment, as well as the subscription of an insurance policy, have been carried out in compliance with all requirements of the Law 26/2007; and
  • Different minor amendments of the regulation in accordance with the experience gained since the publication of the Law 26/2007 and the Royal Decree 2090/2008, in order to clarify, correct or delete certain aspects.

All these amendments will entry into force on 27 April 2015.

It should be noted that this new Royal Decree does not alter the obligation that all operators of activities included in the Annex III of the Law 26/2007 have to prevent, or correct if the damaged has been caused, all environmental damages. Therefore the aim of the Environmental Liability framework in Spain, based on the principles of prevention and “polluter pays”, is not altered by this new Royal Decree 183/2015.

 

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Official legal text: http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2015/04/07/pdfs/BOE-A-2015-3716.pdf

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